Mary Nhin’s Ninja Life Hacks

Mary Nhin takes a Ninja approach to life. “You need grit and mental toughness!” These are the values that she taught to her children and is now teaching to children around the world through her successful book series, Ninja Life Hacks

“When my three boys were young, I would teach them to deal with problems by making up stories about ninjas who had special problem-solving powers,” Mary said. “Right before the pandemic, I started writing the stories down and began self-publishing them.”

Two years later, Mary has over 100 titles in print, which have sold over eight million copies! Additionally, she has a merchandise line with everything from ninja costumes and t-shirts to lunch boxes and bedding, and a television show and toy line are under negotiation, as well.

What has made Ninja Life Hacks such an instant hit? 

“The books deal with very relatable emotions that all children face, like frustration, loneliness, or fear,” Mary said. “I think the stories resonate with children because they are told from a friend’s point of view in a way that normalizes emotions and teaches coping strategies.”

The books also address modern topics. For example, Unplugged Ninja learns techniques for moderating screen time, and Hangry Ninja discovers how to regulate eating times. Some of the books address the development of positive qualities such as kindness or focus, and in Funny Ninja, children learn how to tell three kinds of jokes.

“My boys were kids with BIG emotions, like anxiety, jealousy, and anger. One day, my youngest was struggling with something, and I asked him if he could control it. He said, ‘No.’ So I took a dandelion from the backyard and had him blow his worries away. It was a strategy concept that eventually made it into my first book, Worry Ninja, which is a best-seller.” 

Mary’s 65 Ninja Life Hacks books are illustrated by an artist from Croatia named, Jelena Stupar. The new 2022 releases cover what Mary calls, “executive functioning skills,” such as flexibility and adaptability. A different illustrator is working on Mary’s newest series about real people who have overcome challenges. 

“A lot of people ask me how my background qualifies me to write these books,” Mary said. “I’m not an educator or mental health counselor, but the life lessons have come from my experiences as a parent and business owner.” 

Mary and her husband, Kang, own five Oklahoma sushi restaurants, including Nhinja Sushi in Edmond. “Being a business owner, especially in the restaurant industry, takes a lot of mental toughness—which is a valuable life skill in every aspect of life. That’s why toughness is a recurring theme in my books.”

During the pandemic, Mary saw a growing need to empower children to express their emotions during isolation. Titles on anger, loneliness, and calmness became go-to titles for parents. “I became isolated, too, sitting in my living room writing books on my laptop—but the ideas are still coming. My core mission is to help children develop confidence and belief in themselves so they can go out and reach for the stars.”  Based on Mary’s incredible success, her ninja-tough approach to life is helping create ninjas of the future. 

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